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Thursday, 7 March 2013


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Hyperactive, Chef Joel Vieira, PR maven Wendy Huang at Porto Fino Kitchen + Deli
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Charcuterie Plate

"He was practically whisked from the airport straight to the kitchen," my dear friend, Wendy Huang, recounted the story of how Chef Joel Vieira came to work in Hong Kong.

Porto Fino Kitchen + Deli is tucked away at the upper, quieter end of Old Bailey Street.

"It's so laid back," I sighed, "you'd be forgiven for forgetting that SoHo is literally three skips away."

We were sipping some sort of Brazilian cocktail out of a pack - just add booze. At first I had my doubts. I'm a cocktail snob. But upon inspection of the drink prepared by Taka - "He makes them strong, Wendy promised" - I was won over. It had bits of muddled fruit in it, too. I felt like I was simply enjoying a powered-up mixed berries dessert. I was convinced it was healthy. In any case, it was delicious.

Moments later, a little charcuterie plate arrived. The cheeses were strong, but not too sharp or pungent or creamy. "Goat," I guessed.

"Six months and nine months goat cheese," Joel confirmed later.

"Wow," I whistled, "enough time to have a baby." I dived right back in for more.

"Joel's from Portugal," Wendy shared.

"The part in the middle of the Atlantic," Joel piped in. "I'm a dolphin in the kitchen!"

I instantly adored Joel's easygoing charm, energy and youthful enthusiasm.

I must return soon for a boozy Sunday brunch.

A: 28 Old Bailey St, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong
T: +852 2668 0430

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